Should You Have A Cheat Day?
You’ve been dieting for months on end and each time you walk past the bakery on the way to work you die a little inside. We’ve all been there. Eating healthy for months on end, but the urge to splurge gets strong and so the question of should I have a cheat day comes to mind. Well, should you?
Should you have cheat days?
Instead of calling it a cheat day, it’s better to call b the st definition it a controlled cheat day or even a controlled cheat meal, meaning that you’re planning how you’re going to do it.
By being strategic about it you won’t go overboard on the ice cream.
Let’s say your maintenance calories are 2200 and you’re eating 1700 per day putting you in a 500 caloric deficit. This means you’re at 3500 caloric deficit or roughly 1 pound per week.
If on one of these days you eat 1700 calories + a few slices of pizza and some ice cream this may put you at 2400.
You simply take this amount off your weekly caloric intake and this means you’re 200 over your maintenance one day putting you at a 2800 caloric deficit per week.
This oversimplified. But the point is that a little bit of junk food won’t hold you back.
There’s rumour that having a cheat day has a metabolic advantage and there’s a little truth to this.
Leptin is a hormone which communicates with the brain (in the hypothalamus) and lets the brain know when the slow down on food consumption and when to increase your metabolism.
Leptin is secreted from fat in your body.
Less body fat = less leptin.
The theory goes that since leptin is reduced throughout the week, increasing your calories and especially carbs (which leptin is sensitive too) increases leptin and therefore kick-starts the metabolism which may in theory help you break through a sticking point.
This is true, but don’t rely on any of these effects. Instead understand that the major benefits of cheat days are psychological.
So should you have a cheat day? If cheat days allow you to live an overall healthier lifestyle long-term then it’s probably something you want to consider.
But if you know it’ll cause a binge, then it’s best to avoid entire cheat days and perhaps choose a cheat meal when you’re out of the house.